Every time I think about summer, I think about those awesome pool parties, BBQ’s and family gatherings in the back yard! It’s always a great time to get together and enjoy time with your friends and family.
That’s why my wife and I decided to invest in a backyard that’s compatible with entertaining. We wanted to make sure that we have lots of places to sit, a roof over our heads, and a small entertainment station.
To complete our outdoor paradise, we needed to purchase an outdoor fridge.
With lots of options available on the market, I had no idea which one would work the best, which would last the longest, or which fridge brand I should choose. This was when I decided to take some time and do some online research.
During my research, I discovered what to look for in an outdoor fridge, the top companies available, why using a fridge outdoors is a good idea, and so much more. I’m going to share it all with you in this comprehensive buyers guide. First, let’s take a look at my top 3 recommendations.
Related: NewAir Beverage Cooler Reviews
If you need an outdoor fridge for your backyard, close to your swimming pool, or on your patio, then one of the mini-fridges below will work best for you.
Top 3 Outdoor Fridges
My top 3 recommendations are as follows:
I rated my selections using buyers reports, customer feedback and overall satisfaction with the product. I also used my notes on ‘what makes a great mini-fridge for outside’ as a reference, and came up with these products.
What Makes A Great Mini Fridge For Outside – Outdoor Vs. Indoor Refrigerators
It goes without saying that not all mini-fridges are going to work outside. You need to make sure that your fridge is compliant with outside use.
What happens when you bring an indoor fridge outside to use? Well, it will need to work harder because of the change in temperature and weather, more prone to corrosion, and not keep your beverages at that perfect temperature.
When comparing indoor fridges with outdoor fridges, there are several features that help certified outdoor fridges shine. These features include:
No matter where you live, there are always blasts of severe weather. An indoor fridge isn’t built to take the full force of nature’s blasts, but outdoors fridges can. They are made with high-quality materials, more powerful compressors, and superior engineering to ensure that they can handle the outdoor climate and weather.
I asked a professional at a large retail appliance company what makes outdoor fridges different than regular fridges and this is why they said,
The different compressors and quality of materials makes it outdoor ready
Overall, outdoor fridges are built tough and rugged and come ready to face the weather. An easy way to determine this is by looking for a UL Stamp on your outdoor mini-fridge. The UL certification ensures that it’s built to last outside and that it’s safe to operate outside.
If you want to make sure that the mini-fridge you want is outdoor functional, then make sure you find a UL Certification Stamp on your outdoor fridge. This means that it’s passed the Underwriter Laboratories certification to be safe to function outside, as intended. Learn more here.
Don’t bring an indoor fridge outside and hope that it will function the same as a certified outside fridge – they’re not built for outside use and cannot function properly with temperature and weather changes. They will end up costing you more to operate at the end of the day and will probably stop working after several months or years.
Even in scorching locations, an outdoor fridge should be able to keep your beverages cold. This is because they double or even triple the insulation layers in the fridge to keep the cold air inside.
Fridges are not complicated. They are nothing more than an insulated box that blows in cold air from a compressor to keep your beverages cold. The amount of insulation determines how hard the compressor has to work to keep the fridge chilled at all times. A regular fridge isn’t made to be in extreme heat or direct sunlight, so it has less insulation. Outdoor fridges are built differently and are engineered with hot days in mind.
The NewAir Outdoor Fridge maintains temperatures as low as 32°F even in very hot climates.
Maintaining the correct temperature in your fridge, even in the heat, is another reason you can’t use an indoor fridge outdoors.
When searching for that perfect mini fridge for my outside paradise, I wanted to control my beverage’s temperature. Most outdoor fridges give you the ability to change the temperature up or down by one degree.
This gives you the ability to set the perfect temperature for any beverage you choose.
|A Can of Pepsi||5.6˚C (42˚F)|
|A Can of Coca-Cola||3.3˚C (38˚F)|
|Iced Coffee||6˚C (42.8˚F)|
|Water||Between 12˚C and 15˚C (53.6˚F-59˚F)|
|Red Wine||16˚C-18˚C (60.8˚F-64.4˚F)|
|White Wine||10˚C-12˚C (50˚F-53.6˚F)|
|Champagne, Sparkling Wine||8˚C-10˚C (46.4˚F-50˚F)|
|Sparkling Water||8˚C-10˚C (46.4˚F-50˚F)|
This is perfect for certain beverages that require precise temperature settings. I have listed the best temperatures for the most common beverages above, purchasing an outdoor fridge with temperature control allows you to serve perfect drinks every time.
✅Front Vented or Superior Ventilation
All of the above units, except for the Danby Outdoor fridge, are vented in the front. A front vented fridge allows you to tuck your fridge in custom cabinetry. This makes it perfect for creating impressive outdoor kitchens that work well and look great.
The best materials for an outdoor fridge are high-quality stainless steel. This will protect your fridge from rust in wet and humid conditions. 304 Stainless Steel has a high nickel content and is 8 and 10.5 percent by weight and a high amount of chromium at approximately 18 to 20 percent by weight. 304 stainless steel is used mostly in appliances and has a high resistance to corrosion.
Outdoor fridges normally come with casters, so they are easily moved from one area of your outside living space to another. Any fridge, small or large, isn’t something that you’ll want to be carrying for long distances, so using a fridge with wheels or casters – just makes sense.
A fridge with wheels might sound absorb, but the ability to move your fridge from one side of your deck to another with just a push is a brilliant idea. You can move the fridge to wherever the crowds gather, so you
✅ Electrical Integrity
For a fridge to be certified for outdoor use there has to be electrical integrity within the unit itself. This means that it’s designed in such a way that wires are not going to corrode and short circuit the fridge and cause mechanical failure.
Obviously, inside fridges are not waterproof, so there is always the threat of water seeping into the fridge’s corners and joints, which will cause damage even if you place it under a covering. To protect yourself and your fridge, a certified outside fridge is essential.
Different Types of Outdoor Fridges
There are two main types of outdoor fridges that you’ll have to be aware of before making a purchase – stand-alone fridges and built-ins.
Stand-alone fridges, like the Danby outdoor fridge above, are designed to be placed beside your cabinets and do not have the option of building in your custom cabinetry because of the ventilation limitations. These fridges will take up more room because they are not tucked neatly away under a countertop. If you are not looking to build your fridge into your outdoor cabinet design, then a freestanding unit will work just fine.
My opinion is to lean toward a built-in outdoor fridge so that you always have the option to build it in your outdoor kitchen at a later date.
Commercial Stand-alone units are often full-sized fridges that cater to large groups of people. They normally need a lot of space and come with a glass door on the front of the unit to display all of the available stock.
Built-in outdoor fridges are better because you always have the option of adding them to your outdoor kitchen design at a later date. These units are built to vent from the front, are take up less room.
My recommendation is if you can afford the option, go with a built-in model so that you have the opportunity of building in the fridge down the road.
What You Should Know Before Purchasing An Outdoor Fridge
There are a couple of features that you should be aware of before purchasing an outdoor fridge, you can use the chart above to compare the information I provide here, and it will guide you in the buying process.
Size & Capacity
The first quality that you should be aware of is the size of the fridge. There are several different sizes available from compact to full size. I love using the compact fridge because it’s small and out of the way, yet, if you are planning on hosting larger gatherings, then a larger fridge would be better for you.
I own the NewAir 15” Outdoor Fridge, and I think it’s a perfect size. It’s large enough to hold 90 cans, but at the same time, it’s compact enough to slide out of sight. You will need to confirm how many cans or the capacity your fridge holds and if it large enough to meet your needs.
The NewAir 15” fridge is on casters, so you can roll it to different places in your entertaining space. This is very helpful! With a front venting model, you can build it right into your outdoor kitchen which makes it even more hidden.
If you are planning on remodelling your outdoor space, make sure that you purchase your fridge first. This will allow your carpenter to get the exact measurements before starting on the cabinets. Again, we added the top 3 fridges above with links to the best prices we could find online. Check them out.
When it comes to purchasing any product there are always better prices floating around, and outside appliances are not exception. The thing is, it’s not always best to go out and purchase the cheapest fridge you can find, or decided to purchase an indoor fridge and leave it outside.
Outdoor fridges are built differently as we stated above. I considered the same thing when it came to building our outside paradise, and when I completed my research I decided it would not be a great idea.
You should purchase the best fridge that you can afford. The price of a high-quality outdoor fridge is going to cost you about $1000 – you can count on it. You may find one slightly cheaper, but that’s the ballpark and anything extremely cheaper I would question their outdoor ability.
The quality of an outdoor fridge is connected with the price. Though more expensive fridges don’t always indicate better quality (It’s frustrating when you purchase an expensive fridge that’s poor quality and malfunctions), normally this is the case.
I mentioned above that high-quality outdoor fridges began at $1000 and cost as much as $4000. What makes an outdoor fridge so expensive has to do with the quality of materials used to build the fridge, the technology offered, and the fridge’s brand name.
I believe that it’s better to purchase a better quality fridge that may cost a little more than to purchase a lower quality fridge that may cost less and get all of the quality and technology you’ll need. Plus, higher quality should last a lot longer than the low-quality, cheaper fridge. It’s just good math!
Not only does design include the materials, size and capacity, quality and type of fridge, but also the look and feel of it. A beautifully designed stainless steel fridge with gorgeous accents can’t be beat and is doing to add to the look of your outdoor kitchen and take away from it.
Imagine spending all of that money on your outdoor kitchen and cheapening out on the fridge. It just doesn’t make sense. Purchase a fridge that highlights your nice outdoor living space and brings a elegance to everything.
Top Outdoor Fridges Reviewed
I’m going to break down the top outdoor fridges that are available on the market today. There fridges made my list of the best outdoor fridges because they have high-quality materials, great customer satisfaction and meets the standard I lay out in this article.
At the beginning of this article, you can see the top three, which break them down into three categories: best overall, best budget unit, and the best premium outdoor fridge.
The NewAir 15” Outdoor Fridge Review
I’ve been using NewAir products for several years now and really like their innovation and quality. I’ve only had one problem with shipping, and they always do their best to correct the situation promptly.
The NewAir 15” Stainless Steel Outdoor Fridge was a perfect solution to my outdoor fridge dilemma, and I’ll explain further why it’s my #1 choice for an outdoor fridge.
First, I believe the NewAir 15” Outside Fridge is a perfect balance in performance, features, quality, and price. I find that you get more premium features with a lower price point than most of the premium outdoor fridges on the market. One of the most important qualities of any outdoor fridge is its quality – and this fridge is built with premium in mind.
This fridge has a nice slim design, with a beautiful stainless steel finish. It’s front vented so that it can be used as a stand-alone unit, or you can build it into your cabinets. The stainless steel is 304 grade, making it rust-resistant and ready to face the worst kind of elements.
- 90-Can Beverage Cooler
- 24.80″D w/ handle x 15.00″W x 34.00″H (36.00″ w/ wheels)
- Weighs 63 lbs.
- Compact canned beverage storage for outdoors
- 110-120 volts
- 85 watts
- 60 Hz
- 42 dB noise level
- ETL/cETL Certifications
- Freestanding, Beverage Coolers
- Blue LED interior light
- Front locking door
- Temperature Range is 32°F – 50°F
- Refrigerant Type is R600A
It has a 90-can capacity, so there is plenty of room for all your favorite beverages. It also includes easy-glide casters, which allow you to move the fridge around your outside space.
There are a few features that I absolutely love about this outside fridge. First, I love the self-closing door, so you never have to worry about the kids leaving the door open and you losing all your cool air. I have three kids, so I know that this is a real thing. When you let the door go, it will automatically close tightly and securely. The door also has a lock on the front and comes with 2 keys; you can secure your beverages during the day or night.
I love the temperature control in this fridge; with just a push of a button, you can increase or decrease the temperature to that perfect coldness.
The shelves are all removable, and you can adapt to the size of the beverage you want to store. We often put BBQ ingredients in the fridge, so we don’t have to go inside when we need something. It’s super convienent.
I love this fridge, and our outdoor space wouldn’t be the same without it. It’s why I recommend it, and give it a 5-star review. I also listed it as our #1 choice for an outdoor fridge.
You can head over to NewAir.com, and check out the price and features of this outdoor fridge.
Danby Outdoor Mini Fridge Review
The Danby Outdoor Mini Fridge is a perfect outdoor fridge for those that want to save a little cash.
This mini-fridge is half the price of our recommended outdoor fridge but still gives you some excellent features. For those looking for a cheaper option, then this is probably your best bet.
The fridge is waterproof and rust-resistant. It comes with 4 easy-glide rollers that make it easy to move it around your deck and give you a lock on the front to protect your beverages.
- 4.4 cubic feet (124 L) capacity compact all-refrigerator
- 4 castors featuring stainless steel ball bearings for rust-resistance
- Rated to IPX4 water ingress protection for safety
- Waterproof electrical housing
- UV protected plastics
- Environmentally friendly R600a refrigerant
- Spotless steel door finish – looks identical to real stainless steel but without the smudging
- Automatic defrost
- Rubber-grip ergonomic door handle
- Vegetable crisper and cover
- 2 full width and 1 half-width adjustable glass shelves
- Integrated door shelving with tall bottle storage
- Mechanical thermostat
- Interior LED light
- Scratch-resistant worktop
- Integrated door lock
- Reversible door hinge
- Crystal clear food-grade waterproof ice bucket
- Energy Star compliant
- Tested for cooling capacity in a tropical environment (109F / 43C)
- CanStor beverage dispensing system
There are several features that I really like about this outdoor fridge. I really like that it’s weather-proof and comes with a sleek, stainless steel design. I love that this fridge is 4.4 cubic feet and that it fits all my beverages.
The inside of this fridge looks more like an indoor fridge. The door has sections to add juice or condiments, so it’s not just a fridge for storing beverages. You don’t get the digital temperature control with this fridge, but you do get a dial that you turn to change the temperature as needed.
This fridge is a great outdoor fridge for those looking for a cheaper option than the others I listed. Though it doesn’t come with premium features, like the other fridges, it does have a solid offering and will meet your outside fridge needs.
Head over to Amazon.com, and check out the price of this budget outdoor mini-fridge.
Perlick 24″ Outdoor Mini Fridge Review
Perlick is a leader in commercial refrigeration and now offers a high-quality residential outdoor fridge.
This compact mini-fridge is a perfect addition to any backyard oasis. Though it’s priced at a much higher price-point than the other outdoor mini-fridges on my list, it’s really in a class of it’s own when it comes to the premium features that are offered.
This outdoor fridge is built with quality and design in mind. IT’S UL-rated for outdoor use; it can easily store 144 cans. It features RAPIDcool forced-air refrigeration system, which is only available with Perlick products. It comes with stainless steel inside and out and comes in drawer and door models.
This fridge is no doubt a luxury product. This front-vented outside fridge will perfectly complement your outside kitchen with a touch of flare.
- C-Series Outdoor Refrigerator
- RAPIDcool Forced-air Refrigeration System
- Built to Commercial Standards
- Stainless Steel Interior
- Full Extension Shelving
- Black Vinyl-dipped Shelves
- Convertible Door
- Digital Temperature Control
- 5.2 Cubic Feet of Capacity
- Three Year Warranty
Personally, I think that it looks amazing, and while using this fridge for several days, it just feels premium. You can pull out each shelf to easily access all your favorite beverages. You can also control the temperature between 33° – 42°F (.5° – 5.5°C).
The biggest CON when it comes to purchasing this fridge is the price. It costs almost 4 times more money than my overall best pick. Though the premium touch is worth the extra money, it doesn’t make sense for most of my readers.
If you have already spent thousands of dollars in your perfect outdoor paradise, then I would spend the extra money and purchase the Perlick 24” Outdoor Mini-Fridge; you’re not going to be disappointed with its performance, design, and quality. It’s a fridge worthy of all the praise it’s receiving.
Overall, this luxury fridge is perfect for those looking for a higher-end fridge for their outside kitchen and are not afraid to spend more money to get it.
You can head over to appliancesconnection.com, and learn more about this fridge’s features and price.
Finding that perfect fridge for your backyard gateway doesn’t have to be complicated. You can learn from my research and choose an outdoor fridge that will work well, look great and help deliver crisp, cold beverages to your friends and family.
Take the information provided, and choose the best outdoor fridge that will work the best for you and that you can afford.
It’s worth the investment to purchase a mini-fridge built specifically for outside use.